So-Called Dollars

GOLDEN GATE INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION
1939-1940
SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Purpose: To celebrate openings of both Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bridges; former, "longest single suspension span in the world"; latter, "largest structure of its kind in the history of man."

Organization: Our 5th largest exposition; first suggested by San Francisco News. Founding Committee appointed by mayor; succeeded by San Francisco Bay Exposition Co., chartered July 1934. Legislature created California Commission 1937; state granted $5,000,000; city $1,000,000. Federal funds built Treasure Island (see Site). While there was "a clear heritage" between 1939 exposition and 1940 revival, "there was no direct...continuity." Latter virtually was new venture on old site, opened only after much debate and disagreement; European war conditions "complicated everything." Successor to original company was The 1940 Exposition, Inc.

Site: Man-made Treasure Island, built on Yerba Buena shoals in San Francisco Bay by W. P. A. at cost of $7,500,000; 400 acres, 5,500 ft. by 3,400 ft. Shoals, long-time navigation menace, acquired by city originally for airport but World War II precluded such use. Island served U.S. Navy Base from 1941 until decommissioned in 1996; now open for public control.

Dates, Attendance: First year, Feb. 18-Oct. 29, 1939; second year, May 25-Sept. 29, 1940; total two-year attendance over 17,000,000; 13,000,000 paid.

Participants: First year, 13 states, Hawaii, 26 foreign countries; second year, 9 states, Hawaii, 11 foreign countries "officially," 15 more "unofficially"; many erected own buildings but war conditions caused marked changes between years. Exhibitors exceeded 30,000; many Federal displays but no Mint Exhibit.

Comment: Construction of island included transplanting 4,000 trees, some 60 feet tall, weighing 40 tons; architecture and landscaping combined "beauty and dramatic phases of the oriental and occidental," with lavish use of color. Called Pageant of the Pacific, in essence this was "a travel fair"; instead of stressing scientific progress itself, theme was that of culture and use of leisure made possible by industrial achievements. Prominently displayed were "vast recreational resources" of area as "spectacular background for industrial progress."

Medals: There was no dollar-size Official Medal, probably because of lack of Mint Exhibit. There was an Official Emblem or Seal, however, which appeared on many private issues.

Official Emblem or Seal: Tower and bridge, setting sun in background; above 1939 / San Francisco Bay--all within center circle; outside, around Golden Gate International Exposition; at bottom edge, microscopic Pat. / D--110016.

GOLDEN GATE--MAP OF U.S.
(E. E. HENSLEY) DOLLAR


Photos courtesy of Jonathan Brecher

Obv. Large ornamental gate; tower in lower center foreground; bay, bridge and setting sun in background; at top of gate on ribbon Welcome / to l. 1849, to r. 1850 / 1906; on gate l. Golden, r. Gate; just below in center International / Exposition, in lower l. of gate 1939; 16 stars each side of gate outside; below gate San Francisco, California
Rev. Map of U.S., Mexico and Central America showing cities and dates of previous Expositions; above map l. microscopic (c) by / E. E. Hensley S. F.; outside map around International and Industrial Exhibitions Held in the United States; below, at Canal Panama Canal

HK-478 Gilt. 38mm.

LORD'S PRAYER DOLLARS

TYPE I, PROTESTANT TRANSLATION


Photos courtesy of Tom Hoffman

Obv. Official Emblem, per description under Medals above, but no Pat. / D--110016; beaded border.
Rev. Complete Lord's Prayer in 15 lines across, ending in The Power, and the Glory, / Forever. / Amen.; beaded border.

HK-479 Bronze. 33mm.

TYPE II, CATHOLIC TRANSLATION


Photos courtesy of Fred Holabird

Obv. Same as obverse of No. 479 [Official Emblem].
Rev. Lord's Prayer in 14 lines across, ending in But Deliver Us / From All Evil. / Amen; beaded border.

HK-479a Bronze. 33mm.


Photos courtesy of Jonathan Brecher

Obv. Similar to obverse of No. 479 but Official Emblem is not contained within any center circle; also 1939 is much larger; no beaded border.
Rev. Same as reverse of No. 479a [Lord's Prayer, Catholic].

HK-480 Bronze. 33mm.

NOTE: There are die varieties known of both types I and II (both pieces) without beaded border reverse.

OFFICIAL EMBLEM--TREASURE ISLAND DOLLARS


Photos courtesy of Tom Hoffman

Obv. Official Emblem, per description under medals above.
Rev. Island; airplane to l.; bridge and setting sun in background; above all Treasure Island (three reverse die varieties known)

HK-481 Gilt Bronze. 33mm.
HK-482 White Metal.

PETROLEUM DOLLARS

Distributed by Petroleum Exhibit on grounds.

TYPE I


Photos courtesy of John Dean

Obv. Oil drill; to l. 19, to r. 40--all within center circle; outside, around * The Story of Petroleum * Golden Gate International Exposition
Rev. * / A Dollar Spent / for Petroleum Products / Never Stops Circulating. / It Pays for Wages, Taxes, / Materials and Brings / Countless Benefits to / Every Business / *; beaded border. (Two reverse die varieties known).

HK-483 Gilt Bronze. 35mm.

TYPE II


Photos courtesy of Jonathan Brecher

Obv. Oil drill in center; below Petroleum Exhibit / 1939; above drill, around * Golden Gate *; below all, around International Exposition; beaded border.
Rev. Same as reverse of No. 483 [A Dollar Spent].

HK-484 Gilt Bronze. 35mm.

PIECE OF EIGHT--TREASURE ISLAND DOLLAR

Little information can be developed on this issue. Apparently sale planned for 1939 and possibly 1,000 struck; however, "late delivery" resulted in sale of only 150 to 400 for $1 each; remainder of issue melted down.


Photos courtesy of Fred Holabird

Obv. Facsimile of Spanish Milled Dollar (pillar dollar or piece of eight); at top Treasure Island; below shield 1939; to l. of crown base S.F.; to r. Cal.
Rev. At top Facsimile of Piece of Eight / from / Treasure Island; at bottom San Francisco Bay / California

HK-485 Brass, silver-plated. 40mm.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE DOLLAR


Photos courtesy of Fred Holabird

Obv. Same as obverse of No. 479 [Official Emblem].
Rev. Superimposed on American Flag in background, at top around, is Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag; then Pledge itself in 8 lines--all within wreath; beaded border.

HK-486 Bronze. 33mm.

GOLD DOLLAR-SIZE (CHARBNEAU) DOLLARS

Designed and issued by Jules Louis Charbneau, San Francisco fine arts appraiser and dealer. Total pieces struck, both years, 2,500 Gold, sold for $5; 500 Silver and 50 Copper, sold for $1 each. There were two Gold and Silver issues, one dated 1939, other 1940 but it cannot be established if Copper was also struck each year. Sale was disappointing and bulk of entire issue was melted down. Reverse bust of Pacifica, "Queen" of fair, taken from her full statue, located on grounds at entrance to Cavalcade of the Golden West exhibit.


Photos courtesy of Fred Holabird
Photos shown twice actual size.

Obv. Tower and exposition grounds, bridge in background; above, around Golden Gate Int. Exposition; below all 1939 (or 1940); at l. border, microscopic C M J
Rev. Large head, of sculptured or idol type, facing front; above Pacifica; below Sterling; on l. bar of hair, microscopic C M J

HK-487 Silver, dated 1939. Size of Gold Dollar. J6. 12mm.
HK-487c Gilt Silver, dated 1939. J7.


Photos courtesy of Fred Holabird
Photos shown twice actual size.

HK-487a Silver, dated 1940. J13.


Photos courtesy of Fred Holabird
Photos shown twice actual size.

HK-487b Silver, dated 1939, incuse 40 above l. of bridge. J8.


Photos courtesy of Fred Holabird
Photos shown twice actual size.

Obv. Same as obverse of No. 487 [Tower and exposition grounds].
Rev. Similar to reverse of No. 487 [Large head, of sculptured or idol type, facing front] except Solid Gold below; numeral 1 to l. of head and D (or *) to r.; some medals have 10K or 22K above Solid Gold.

HK-488 Gold, dated 1939, 1 D Solid Gold. J1.
HK-488a Gold, dated 1939, 1 D 10K Solid Gold. J2.
HK-488b Gold, dated 1939, 1 * 10K Solid Gold. J3.
HK-488c Gold, dated 19399, 1 * 10K Solid Gold, incuse 22K punched over 10K. J4.
HK-488d Gold, dated 1939, 1 D 10K Solid Gold, incuse 40 above l. of bridge. J5.
HK-488e Gold, dated 1939, 1 D Solid Gold, incuse 10K, incuse 40 above l. of bridge. J14.
HK-488f Gold, dated 1939, 1 * 10K Solid Gold, incuse 40 above l. of bridge. J15.


Photos courtesy of Fred Holabird
Photos shown twice actual size.

HK-489 Gold, 1 * 10K Solid Gold. J11.
HK-489a Gold, 1 * 10K Solid Gold, incuse 40 above l. of bridge. J12.


Photos courtesy of Fred Holabird
Photos shown twice actual size.

Obv. Same as obverse of No. 487 [Tower and exposition grounds].
Rev. Similar to reverse of No. 487 [Large head, of sculptured or idol type, facing front] except no legends below or to sides of head.

HK-490 Gilt Copper, dated 1939. J10.
HK-1033 Platinum. Only 2 struck.
HK-1033a Copper. J9.

TOWER OF THE SUN DOLLAR


Photos courtesy of Fred Holabird

Obv. Same as obverse of No. 480 [Official Emblem without enclosing circle].
Rev. Tower; Bay, mountains and sun with rays in background; above all, around, The Tower of the Sun

HK-490a Gilt Bronze. 33mm.

HK-476 to HK-477